MEMBERS of Ennis Town Council are to make the case for the future of local authorities to the Environment Minister.
Their first step will be the holding of a special meeting of councillors highlighting the functions and services of the authority.
The meeting in June comes at a time of uncertainty for local authorities, with Minister Phil Hogan set to announce the results of a review of local government later this year.
Plans for the meeting were discussed at a recent meeting of Ennis Town Council, where the importance of local elected representatives was emphasised. Some councillors hit out at the county’s TDs, with Councillor Frankie Neylon saying, “The politicians in Dáil Éireann have forgotten the grass roots. The town council and county council is only needed when there’s a general election.”
Stressing the relevance of local councillors, Councillor Neylon said, “We never take credit for what we do but everything we do, no matter how small, is important to the town.”
He went on, “The national politicians, when they get their pinstriped suit and their car, are living in a different world. They don’t understand local people.”
He criticised the current Government saying, “They are trying to close schools, garda stations and there are people on trollies. They should think twice about it, this Government will be thrown out the same as Fianna Fáil, they are carrying on the same way. They are forgetting the people at the bottom that are vulnerable.”
Councillor Johnny Flynn commented, “There is self preservation going on with civil servants protecting themselves by pointing the finger.
“This is a Fine Gael government that is being led by a Fianna Fáil administration. We run a good ship here and we should have an input rather than having a Dublin-centred perspective.”
Councillor Tommy Brennan argued, “Our services are lost without any minister getting rid of town councils. There was a commitment given to abolish the senate and they are rolling back on that, they will say they are going to get rid of the town councils instead to cover their own tail.” He stated that the local authority’s powers have been transferred bit by bit and “we let it happen”.
Proposals to hold the special meeting were first raised at the February meeting of Ennis Town Council when the elected members raised their concerns in relation to the services that will be provided by town councils in the future.
The matter was highlighted in the context of the proposed transfer of water services, which are currently county based, to a national body.